17-39 Segment 2: Teaching Girls to Code: The mission to close the gender gap in tech

 

While women make up more than half of the workforce, they only account for twenty-six percent of the tech industry. Reshma Saujani, the founder of Girls Who Code, says this is because of what our culture teaches us. She uses the example of a common image for a computer scientist: a man in a basement who probably hasn’t showered. Unsurprisingly, when asked, girls say they don’t want to be him, or even be friends with him.

According to Saujani, there are around 500,000 open jobs in the computer and tech industry. In the United States last year we graduated 40,000 people qualified for these jobs. She says that economically everyone can benefit from being in the tech industry, but without women helping to solve the problems, you lose half of the population’s ideas. All the studies indicate that a more diverse team works better.

Hiring women also can help tech companies. Eighty percent of the shopping is done by women, so women on the team can give great marketing and sales insights. Studies show that a more diverse team makes more money.

Girls Who Code was started as a way to empower girls to learn about computer science. They have taught over 40,000 girls to code in under five years. All the programs are free, removing barriers that girls might have. They have summer programs, school programs, and clubs that meet in libraries all around the country. Saujani’s book tells the story of computer coding through five young girls from all different walks of lives.

Guest:

  • Reshman Saujani, founder of Girls Who Code and author of Girls Who Code: Learn to Code and Change the World

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